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Should Christians Practice Reiki?
by Marcia Backos

Three recent conversations have convinced me that many Christians are drawn to Reiki but are unsure that Reiki should become part of their lives. One of my students spent several months deciding whether to enter a Reiki workshop. I was not aware of the how intense her struggles had been until she observed in class, "If my parents knew I am here, they would cheerfully burn me at the stake." She was respectful of her parents' version of Christianity, but she was totally convinced that she was called by God to become a healer. Her parents' denomination offered no healer training. She had finally decided that she must accept God's calling and the spiritual gift of healing and believes that Reiki offers the way.

During another conversation with one of the pastors of my church, I asked his opinion of Reiki. He casually observed that he had heard about a Reiki Master who had somehow abused his students, so he didn't think much of the practice. I mentioned the tragic experiences in the Catholic Church with priests sexually abusing children which had not caused people to change their opinion of Christianity nor to stop going to church. Apparently he rethought his opinion. Later the same day, he asked me to speak to a man recently diagnosed with brain cancers about arranging some Reiki treatments.

Another friend had slipped and fallen on the ice after leaving a store. He came to a meeting at church and told the group about his experience. He was obviously in pain as he sat through the meeting. Afterwards, one of my students and I offered to give him Reiki which he accepted, though he didn't think it would do much good. He had fallen a couple of times previously, landing on the base of his spine, and he was aware from experience of the pain and soreness that he could expect the next day. Later in the week he emailed me to say that he had felt just fine the next day and decided there was something to Reiki and wanted to explore it further. He attended a healing service at the church and participated in the laying on of hands after communion. While he seemed affected by the service, he has not come again nor asked for any more Reiki treatments. This week, he told me why. He is a thoughtful introspective seeker, but after some thought he decided that he might not have felt any pain anyway after his fall. Further he wasn't interested in the community that forms as people work together to heal others.

Each of these individuals approached Reiki from different perspectives. One felt a spiritual calling and responded despite opposition. One did not have a good understanding of Reiki and had not thought of it fairly, and one had other explanations and interests. Of these, the first two are the reason for this article.

As the practice of Reiki has spread round the world in a 30-year period and is rapidly entering public awareness, Christians have approached its use in a variety of ways. More and more Christians view Reiki as a practice that provides an opportunity to follow more closely the teachings and examples of Jesus healing the sick. Others are concerned that Reiki has an Eastern origin and are searching for more information and experiences before deciding how to respond. Thoughtful, committed Christians seek accurate information and pray for guidance as part of deciding whether to adopt the practice of Reiki into their lives.

Each new idea or change in our world challenges us to adjust to the new knowledge and experience. Sometimes new knowledge has bearing on our religious values and beliefs. Those who take their spiritual lives seriously will often take time to gather information on the new subject, think about it and pray for guidance. After this process, a decision can be made about if or how those new thoughts or practices might be incorporated into their daily lives. This is a spiritually mature way to deal with things of this nature. During the time of research, people will benefit by making sure they make use of information that is accurate and gives an honest and fair description of the subject they are exploring. By reading, seeking those who have given or experienced Reiki, and praying for insight and guidance, Christians can make decisions about how Reiki might play a role in their lives. It's important to keep in mind that while many Christians have found Reiki to be a spiritually fulfilling practice, it is not necessarily for everyone.

Christian churches have a long tradition of adopting practices that enhance the spiritual life of its members based on examples of Jesus' actions described in the Bible. Some churches use music and liturgy; others use silence and inspired prayer; some worship on Saturday (7th Day Adventists) and others on Sunday; some use dance and others sit throughout much of the service; some baptize by emersion and others by sprinkling water on the head; some honor saints and seek their help while others seek angelic experiences. In Christian worship, the cross is used as a focus of worship complemented by candles, music, prayer beads, bells, incense, and other ritual items. These many and varied practices indicate the range of methods that different Christian groups incorporate to follow the teachings of the Bible and to come closer to God. While they are different, they all fall within the definition of Christianity.

As Christians seek ways to increase and strengthen their spiritual moments, many have adopted practices to develop the "Gifts of the Spirit." In I Corinthians 12:4-12, Paul speaks of the gifts to including speaking wisdom and knowledge and the power to heal. Also Paul describes people within the church having roles as apostles, prophets, teachers, those who perform miracles, those who heal, those who direct others and those who speak in strange tongues (I Corinthians 12:28-31).

Because one of the spiritual gifts is healing, devoted Christians who take direction from the above scripture have looked into the laying on of hands and more recently, the practice of Reiki. In addition, many Christian seekers have found John 14:12 an important source of guidance as well as reassurance that becoming healers it is not only possible, but also something we as Christians should develop if we feel spiritually guided to do so: "I am telling you the truth: whoever believes in me will do what I do-yes, he will do even greater things because I am going to the Father" (TEV)

Within that quotation is both instruction and challenge. As Christians search for ways to follow more fully Jesus' teachings and examples in order to draw closer to God, it is important to be aware of the examples Jesus set for us. Many of these focused on healing others (Matt: 14:14, Mark 3:10, Luke 4:38-39). And much of his healing was done by laying on hands. Here are a few examples: In Matthew 8:14-15, Jesus uses touch to heal Peter's mother-in-law of a fever. In Mark 1:40-42 Jesus uses his hands to heal a man with leprosy. This is also mentioned in Luke 5:12-13. Matthew 20:29-34 describes how Jesus healed two blind men by touching their eyes and in Mark 8:22-25 Jesus uses his hands to heal another blind man. In Mark 7:32 35 he uses touch to heal a man who is deaf and can't speak. In Luke 7:12-15, Jesus raises a dead man by touching his coffin and in Luke 8:49-55 Jesus uses touch to return a dead girl to life.

Scripture clearly indicates that healing is something appropriate for Christians to be involved with. Christians who have a solid foundation in their faith know that God will always protect and guide them. Those Christians who practice Reiki do so within the guidance and protection of God secure in the belief that they have been guided to follow Jesus' example to be a healer.


Q. How do we know that healing is appropriate for Christians to do?
A. In I Corinthians 14:1 Paul tell us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts. In I Corinthians 12: 28 Paul says that healing is one of the gifts. Paul also says that each of the gifts is best expressed with love. Also, Jesus is quoted in John 14:12 as saying, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father." We know that Jesus practiced laying on hands type healing, therefore, it is scriptural for Christian to practice healing by laying on hands.

Q. What is the best way for a Christian to practice Reiki?
A.. Reiki provides a very wonderful way for Christians to make use of God's power. When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you. This can be done through prayer before Reiki sessions, attunements or classes etc. Christians have also found praying for additional healing power from Archangel Michael, Gabriel and the other angels of God to be very effective. In this way your connection with God's love can become very powerful and act as a source of guidance, healing and love that will always be available to you.

Q.. Why is the Reiki attunement necessary? How does it work?
A. The attunement is a process that turns on your healing energy. During this process God is able to connect you more strongly to his power which strengthens the healing energy coming from your hands. While everyone has some healing ability we know from experience that those who receive a Reiki attunement have noticeably stronger healing energies coming from their hands and are able to help others in a more effective way with their Reiki treatments. As a Christian it is recommended that you say a prayer at the beginning of the attunement process asking that God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will perform the attunement through the Reiki master. Christians have found this to be a very valuable and uplifting experience that strengthens their connection to God and increases their healing ability.

Q. How do we know that Reiki comes from God? I've heard some people say Reiki comes from Satan. How can I know the truth?
A. Our understanding about Satan comes from the Bible. No where in the Bible do we find an instance where Satan healed someone. Satan tempts people to sin but Satan does not heal people. Furthermore, in Luke 6:44, Jesus says, "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit." Which is to say that if something is beneficial and helps people, and those results are long lasting such as the healing people receive from Reiki, then it must be good and come from God.

Q. Is Reiki a religion?
A. Religions are usually involved with issues such as heaven and hell, sin and salvation etc. and have a doctrine or code that one must believe in in order to be a part of the religion. Reiki does not deal with these things. Reiki is a simple healing technique. It does not require one give up ones religion or changes ones religious beliefs in any way to practice it. Most Christians who practice Reiki state that Reiki brings them closer to God, to Christ and to the Holy Spirit and because it is a method of healing, it helps them fulfill their Christian calling to help others.

Q. Is Reiki a cult?
A. In order for something to be a cult, it must have certain detrimental effects on its members. A usual requirement is that they must give up their previous religious beliefs and accept the new beliefs of the group without question. In Reiki, this is not required. People are free to continue with any religious belief they have previously chosen and in fact people of all religious beliefs practice Reiki. In most cults, there is a leader to which members must follow and obey. Reiki has no leader. Practitioners can practice anyway they want and are not controlled by anyone. In addition, in most cults, members are asked to give all or most of their possessions to the group, they often live communally and contact with the outside world is discouraged. None of these conditions exist in Reiki. Reiki is religiously neutral.

Q. I understand Reiki uses symbols. I've been told that Christians shouldn't be involved with anything that uses symbols.
A. Keep in mind that symbols are part of Christianity. The fish and the cross are Christian symbols. Note also that Catholics make the sign of the cross over their chests for protection and to become empowered with Christ. Symbols are used in Reiki to connect with different kinds of Reiki energy and since Reiki healing energies all come from God, the symbols are a way to connect with God. However, if a person doesn't like the idea of symbols, they are not necessary to use with Reiki as in Reiki I there are no symbols.

Q.. I've heard of Reiki practitioners speak of Reiki guides. What's this about? I've been told that Christians should avoid contacting spirits.
A.. The idea of Reiki guides is not actually part of the original Reiki teaching, but was added later by Western practitioners. Therefore, one doesn't have to contact a spirit guide to use Reiki as Reiki energy comes directly from God and spirit guides are not necessary. However, it is possible as a Christian to use a similar concept when practicing Reiki. Keep in mind that Jesus, Mary and other Biblical figures received help from spiritual beings in the form of angels. Angels are spiritual beings that God has created to be his messengers and it is possible for Christian Reiki practitioners to make use of their help. God's angels can help heal and also provide guidance. It is also possible to call on God directly and especially Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to be present and provide healing energy directly from them, but sometimes God will send an angel to do this also. Remember, the entire book of Revelations was given to John by an angel - indicating the responsiblity God sometimes gives to angels to act as spiritual guides.

Q. Is Reiki wizardry, black magic etc?
A. Wizardry and black magic etc. is always used with the idea of gaining power over others or gaining some personal benefit regardless of God's will. It does not call on God but on lower powers or other lower beings to help fulfill ones desires. Reiki does not operate in this way. It cannot be used to fulfill ones personal desires unless they are part of God's plan. Reiki can only be used to heal and to help people and is always guided by God.

Q. I've heard that Reiki is a Buddhist practice. Is this true?
A. While Mikao Usui who founded Reiki was a Buddhist, he had respect for all religions including Christianity which he had studied. At one point in his life he lived with a Christian family and had Christian friends. He did not want Reiki to be a religious practice but wanted it to be a simple healing technique that anyone could use. Because of this there are no Buddhist practices in Reiki. Reiki is religiously neutral. Reiki energy comes from God, which is understood to be the one or Universal God.

Q. How should Christians treat others who heal in the name of Jesus, but do not have exactly the same beliefs as ones own?
A. We read in the Gospel of Luke, 9: 49-50, " Master" said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because his is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."

Q.. Is Reiki right for all Christians to practice?
A. As we can see from the information presented on this website, Reiki is in alignment with the teachings of the Bible. Yet, it is not likely that that all Christians will be drawn to practice it. If you are interested in Reiki and are in the process of making a decision about receiving a Reiki treatment or attending a Reiki class, it is suggested that you pray about it and then follow the guidance that comes to you from God.


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